SUMMARY: Angel finds out he isn't the only vampire with a soul any longer. Post-BtVS "Grave," set in AtS early season four.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own AtS or BtVS. And I think it's about time I looked into that.
It was nice of Harris to phone. We haven't talked in years, but the pleasure in his voice—you can't buy that sort of thing.
After all, what can measure up to telling someone you hate that everything they've worked for is useless? You try. You try for years. You do what you're told—by Whistler, by Doyle, by the Powers. They don't make life easy for you. Hell, they go out of their way to make things difficult.
And then your brat prince of a grandchilde goes and gets in a couple of days what you've worked so hard for, what you struggle towards every day, lunging and dragging and sometimes falling backward, but with it always in mind.
I don't know what it means. The shanshu—there's more than one souled vampire now, isn't there? Not only one who might become human. And I can't ask Wesley if he can find out any more. Fred knows nothing about ancient texts, and Giles doesn't care if I live or die, as long as I stay away from Buffy.
He's there now, with her. Spike. He couldn't get much closer, actually. The basement, Harris said. Buffy put up towels to cover the windows, and then asked Harris to board them over. I could hear his smile over the phone. I can't imagine he likes having Spike there, but he likes having it as a weapon. Sometimes enduring a little pain is worth it if it means you can inflict a lot of it in exchange. I learned that long ago.
Women like Spike. They always have. Maybe not when he was alive, from what I gathered. Not that he ever talked much about that—he'd turn away discussion of his mortal life as if it was too boring to discuss. Dru knew more, I could tell, but she hid it behind secretive smiles and typically fey words. Darla didn't know and didn't care, which was also typical.
Maybe Harris thought it was a competition. He said something about the shanshu, although he didn't call it that. Wesley must have said something to Giles; despite what he says, he's not as independent of the Council as he likes to think.
Well, it's not a contest. I don't try to do good because I thought it would guarantee me shanshu, but in those few words from Sunnydale I understood just the same that the shanshu probably wouldn't be mine. I've tried to make reparations for what I've done, although reparation is impossible. I've tried to live decently, and help people. But I only want my soul when I already have it. It came to me as a punishment. Apparently Spike received his as a reward. I don't know what to say about that. That Spike could ever want something like that—it's unimaginable. It goes against everything he ever was, that impulsive boy who loved the power given to him by fists and fangs. If he shanshus, he'll lose all that. He'll become what he once was, what he despised so much he wouldn't speak of it. A human. It would be perfectly just if I had to watch them all become human, wouldn't it? Drusilla and Spike, all those I sired and their progeny. Because if I resent it of them, I'm not sorry enough. I won't have earned it yet. When I don't feel I can ever deserve it, maybe then I'll receive it.
But knowing the Powers, they've already made their choice. I'm just glad I could amuse them until their real chosen one came along.
With everything that's happened the last couple of years, whether Spike gets a soul and whether he gets shanshu doesn't matter much. I can't make my son see that I love him; I can't bring Cordelia back. I can barely keep my business afloat. Afloat, get it?
Maybe you had to be there.
I don't blame Connor. It wasn't him, it was her, filling his mind with the filth Holtz poured into her. What's Connor ever known? What's he ever had, except for a blazing hellish world and distant memories of people who loved him long ago?
I don't deserve the shanshu. I don't deserve the soul. No matter how it's written I help, I failed with my son, who existence was impossible. A gift that couldn't be, but was. I could bring down demonic warlords, but I couldn't keep him in my arms.
The shanshu doesn't matter. I had what mattered, and now I don't.
If Spike wanted the soul—if he got what he wanted—I guess I envy him after all. If he wants the shanshu, he can have it. What I want can't be given by the Powers. It can only be given by a boy sleeping on the hard ground, surrounded by the dregs of society.
That's my shanshu. No matter what Justine does, or Wolfram and Hart, I'll get it someday. Spike can become human. I just want to see Connor happy.
And someday, I know, he will be.